Sallie Mae Private Student Loans Review

Sallie Mae offers flexible repayment options and is one of the only lenders serving part-time students.
Cecilia Clark
By
Last updated on April 12, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Karen Gaudette Brewer
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Student loan ratings

Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan
Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating
The Nerdy headline:

Sallie Mae was originally founded in 1973 as a federally guaranteed student loan program. Today it makes private student loans, but it stopped servicing federal loans in 2014. Its private loan is best for part-time students and those who want flexibility with repayment.

Top Private Student Loan Lenders
Ad
2024 Best Private Student Loan Overall
College Ave Private Student Loan
5.0/5
NerdWallet rating
College Ave Private Student Loan
Fixed APR
4.17-16.69%
Variable APR
5.59-16.85%
Min. credit score
Mid-600s
on College Ave's website
on Credible’s website
Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan
Fixed APR
4.25-15.49%
Variable APR
5.37-15.70%
Min. credit score
Mid-600's
on Sallie Mae's website
on Credible’s website

Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan review

Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan
Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan

4.5
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Mid-600's
Fixed APR
4.25-15.49%
Variable APR
5.37-15.70%
on Sallie Mae's website
on Credible’s website

Pros

  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.

  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, who live in the U.S. and attend school in the U.S. can apply with a qualified co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Cons

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Best for part-time students and those who want to make payments during school.

Full Review

Sallie Mae, originally founded in 1973 as a federally guaranteed student loan program, split into two powerhouse entities in 2014: Sallie Mae Bank, a consumer banking business, and Navient, the largest federal student loans servicer.

Sallie Mae’s private student loans are best for those who want to be rewarded for making payments while in school. For example, Sallie Mae offers lower interest rates to borrowers who make monthly interest-only payments while in school.

Sallie Mae at a glance

  • Provides loans to part-time students.

  • Offers co-signer release after 12 months.

  • Does not allow you to see a personalized rate without a hard credit check.

How Sallie Mae could improve

Sallie Mae could improve by allowing applicants to see a personalized rate with a soft credit check. Disclosing requirements like minimum credit score and minimum income could also help borrowers know their odds for approval before applying.

Sallie Mae private student loan details

    • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: No.

    • Loan terms: 10 or 15 years.

    • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to your total cost of attendance less aid.

    • Application or origination fee: No.

    • Prepayment penalty: No.

    • Late fees: Yes, 5% of the amount of the past due payment, up to a maximum of $25.

    Compare Sallie Mae's range of interest rates with private student loan lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate Sallie Mae will offer you, apply on its website.

  • Financial

    • Minimum credit score: Does not disclose.

    • Minimum income: Does not disclose.

    • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Does not disclose.

    • Typical income of approved borrowers: Does not disclose.

    • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Does not disclose.

    • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Does not disclose.

    Other

    • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident or non-permanent resident alien.

    • DACA borrowers: Eligible with a valid U.S. address, social security number or international tax identification number — and current immigration documentation.

    • Location: Available in all 50 U.S. states.

    • Must be enrolled half-time or more: No. Full-time, half-time or less than half-time enrollment is eligible.

    • Loan can be used for past due tuition: Yes.

    • Types of schools served: Title IV or non-Title IV schools, coding boot camps and commercial flight training schools.

    • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 61%.

  • In-school repayment options:

    • Interest-only repayment: Pay only interest while you're in school.

    • Immediate repayment: Make full payments as soon as the loan is disbursed, while you’re still in school.

    • Full in-school deferment: Yes.

    Post-school repayment options

    • Grace period: 6 months.

    • Income-based repayment option: No.

    • In-school deferment: Yes.

    • Natural disaster forbearance: No.

    • Temporary reduce payment: Yes.

    • Graduated repayment period: Yes, borrowers can make interest-only payments after their grace period ends, for up to 12 months.

    • Skip-a-payment: No.

    • Military deferment: Yes.

    • Forbearance: Yes.

    • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 12 months.

    • Death discharge: Yes.

    • Disability discharge: Yes.

    • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No.

    Repayment preferences

    • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

    • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

    • Loan servicer: Sallie Mae.

    • In-house customer service team: Yes.

    • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.

    • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.

    • Average time from application to approval: Applicants can complete the application and receive a decision in less than 15 minutes.

Compare private student loans
Lender
Fixed APR
Min. credit score
Variable APR
Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student LoanSallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan
4.5
GO TO LENDER SITEon Sallie Mae's website
on Sallie Mae's website
COMPARE RATESon Credible’s website
on Credible’s website
4.25- 15.49%
Mid-600's
5.37- 15.70%
College Ave Private Student LoanCollege Ave Private Student Loan
4.17- 16.69%
Mid-600s
5.59- 16.85%
Ascent Credit-based Student LoanAscent Credit-based Student Loan
4.29- 15.96%
Low-Mid 600s
6.23- 16.09%
Custom Choice LoanCustom Choice Loan
4.43- 14.04%
600
5.38- 15.56%
Education Loan Finance Private Student LoanEducation Loan Finance Private Student Loan
4.50- 14.22%
680
6.00- 14.22%

Sallie Mae Graduate Student Loan review

Sallie Mae Graduate Student Loan

4.5
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Mid-600's
Fixed APR
4.99-14.48%
Variable APR
5.37-14.97%
on Sallie Mae's website
on Credible’s website

Pros

  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.

  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, can apply with a U.S. co-signer.

Cons

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Best for part-time students and those who want flexibility with repayment.

Sallie Mae Medical School Loan review

Sallie Mae Medical School Loan

4.5
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Mid-600's
Fixed APR
4.99-14.46%
Variable APR
5.37-14.96%
on Sallie Mae's website
on Credible’s website

Pros

  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.

  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, can apply with a U.S. co-signer.

Cons

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Best for part-time students and those who want flexibility with repayment.

Sallie Mae Law School Loan review

Sallie Mae Law School Loan

4.5
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Mid-600's
Fixed APR
4.99-14.47%
Variable APR
5.37-14.97%
on Sallie Mae's website
on Credible’s website

Pros

  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.

  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, can apply with a U.S. co-signer.

Cons

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Best for part-time students and those who want flexibility with repayment.

Sallie Mae MBA Loan review

Sallie Mae MBA Loan

4.5
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Mid-600's
Fixed APR
4.99-14.48%
Variable APR
5.37-14.97%
on Sallie Mae's website
on Credible’s website

Pros

  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.

  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, can apply with a U.S. co-signer.

Cons

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Best for part-time students and those who want flexibility with repayment.

Sallie Mae Dental School Loan review

Sallie Mae Dental School Loan

4.5
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Mid-600's
Fixed APR
4.99-14.47%
Variable APR
5.37-14.96%
on Sallie Mae's website
on Credible’s website

Pros

  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.

  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, can apply with a U.S. co-signer.

Cons

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Best for part-time students and those who want flexibility with repayment.

Sallie Mae Graduate School Loan for Health Professionals review

Sallie Mae Graduate School Loan for Health Professionals

4.5
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Mid-600's
Fixed APR
4.99-14.48%
Variable APR
5.37-14.97%
on Sallie Mae's website
on Credible’s website

Pros

  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.

  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, can apply with a U.S. co-signer.

Cons

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Best for part-time students and those who want flexibility with repayment.

Before applying for a Sallie Mae student loan

Before taking out a Sallie Mae student loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

Compare your private student loan options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

If you aren’t eligible for a Sallie Mae student loan

If Sallie Mae denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

If you don’t have access to a co-signer — or still aren’t eligible with one — consider lenders that don’t require co-signers or specialize in bad or no credit student loans.

STUDENT LOAN RATINGS METHODOLOGY

Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

We consider 40 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

Find the Right Student Loan

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Frequently asked questions

  • Sallie Mae is a four-star lender based on NerdWallet's student loan rating system. Our ratings prioritize low interest rates and flexible repayment options that allow borrowers to repay loans faster and avoid default.

  • Only federal student loans qualify for student loan forgiveness programs. Sallie Mae provides private students loans, so they don't qualify for student loan forgiveness.

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